Monday, June 25, 2012

County Budget still questioned regarding funding for Sheriff Dept

One of the items discussed most heatedly at the recent BOS meeting was the lack of funding for the Sheriff Department. Cuts to the budget over the years has reduced the Dept budget from 16 million per year to 8 million per year. The AB 109 funds that showed a glimmer of hope for additional funding for the Dept were dashed when the 'lions share' was distributed to the probation dept in anticipation of treatment and rehabilitation expenses. One part of the probation plan includes the use of house arrest ankle bracelets, though Kuntz pointed out that they only work where there is cell service. This creates a problem for large areas of Calaveras where cell service is not available.

Currently there are 25 parolees released to Calaveras County through AB 109 realignment with more returning to the county in the coming months.

Supervisor Spellman stated at the last BOS meeting the Board“doesn’t have much of a choice” when it comes to paying for public safety. This is in reference to the  California Constitution which states that local officials have an obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public safety services. 

Capt Macedo pointed out that recent cuts to the department have increased the response times to calls to an average of 41 minutes, stating at a recent town hall meeting, "We warned the Board of Supervisors this would happen. We played them 911 dispatch tapes of people screaming waiting for a Deputy to arrive. We were accused of trying to use scare tactics. Its not scare tactics, its reality."


SEC. 35.  (a) The people of the State of California find and declare
all of the following:
   (1) Public safety services are critically important to the
security and well-being of the State's citizens and to the growth and
revitalization of the State's economic base.
   (2) The protection of the public safety is the first
responsibility of local government and local officials have an
obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public
safety services.